A season-high crowd of 10,052 saw the Durham Bulls lose to Lehigh Valley 9-3 on Star Wars Night, evening the four-game series at one win each. Starter Chris Archer (L, 4-2, 3.97) and relievers Jim Paduch and Will Inman all walked in runs. Inman did it twice, as Lehigh built a 4-0 lead on bases-loaded walks.
Lehigh Valley had plenty of opportunities to break the game open early, going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position before getting their first clutch hit - a bases loaded infield single in the seventh to score their fifth run of the game. The IronPigs got their first six baserunners on against Paduch in the fourth, but they only managed one run after two runners were cut down on the basepaths.
Bulls pitchers walked a season-high nine batters, but Lehigh left 11 runners on base in the game. Still, the Bulls were unable to get to Lehigh starter Ethan Martin (W, 3-2, 5.77) who allowed just 4 hits in six innings. Martin struck out six Bulls batters in a row in the third and fourth innings.
Lehigh put the game out of reach in the seventh. After two Inman walks and a single plated three runs, third baseman Cody Asche hit a grand slam to right field. It was Asche's third home run of the year and the IronPigs' first grand slam since April 18. The seven-run seventh was the biggest inning allowed by Bulls pitchers this season.
Durham got two runs back in the seventh when Mike Fontenot followed a Shelley Duncan single with a home run to left center for his first blast of the year. Wil Myers hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth to cap the scoring.
The Bulls and IronPigs play again on Sunday at 5:05pm. LHP Alex Torres (2-1, 1.69) starts for Durham against RHP B.J. Rosenberg (0-3, 5.28).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.